Podcast Breakdown: Episode 55

To listen to the podcast episode where we discussed the hand, click here.

To recap the hand: 

Stake: 5/10/20

Villain (2100) opens to 70 UTG+1, Hero (2900) calls in HJ with TJcc, folds around.

Flop (175) Qc5c8s Villain Checks, Hero bets 135, Villain raises to 425, Hero 3bets all-in, Villain calls.

Let's start with UTG+1's opening range:

Image from PokerCruncher Expert for Mac

Image from PokerCruncher Expert for Mac

Based on Tricia Cardner's explanation of the player, his range in early position isn't going to be too out of line, but likely a little bit looser than optimal in a tougher 5/10 game, so I gave him 12.5% of hands with the hands on the margins being weaker suited aces, and midding suited connectors and suited one gappers.

Our hero calls on the button with JTcc and she sees the flop heads up. When the flop comes Qc5c8s and the hero is checked to, she has a very clear bet - she has no showdown value and significant equity  against the villain's checking range. Once villain makes a fairly large checkraise, here is where things get interesting.  

When talking to Dr. Cardner about what the villain's check raising range looks like, she noted that several times throughout the session he has done so with middle pair type hands. So when constructing the villain's checkraising range, I left in many more combos than I ordinarily would assign.

Note the new feature in PokerCruncher, the ability to have weighted combos of individual hands. For example, I gave villain 50% weight of his combo of AKcc.

Against the range above, even accounted for some slowplayed sets, JTcc has 56% equity. So as a starting point, shoving is profitable even if the villain calls the shove with his entire range.

Given the $735 already in the pot though, if Hero shoves it's a much better outcome to simply win the pot now and get hands with a ton of equity to fold, even if she's ahead of some of his middling pairs when called. On the podcast Jack and I thought this would be a pretty clear spot to shove because no matter what, the play is somewhat profitable, and if the villain is checkraise folding most of their middling pairs, then this becomes an even more profitable play.

But let's look more in depth to the other viable option here: calling. Here is a list of the main types of turn cards that can roll off, and what might happen on them.

1) Club

If the club comes off and the hero hits the flush, I think it's unlikely that she has much implied odds here. Really only a set or a worse flush draw played this way will put more money in the pot here.

2) J or T

Against a middle pair that opted to checkraise, these cards will give the hero the best hand. When checked to she can likely get away with a thin value bet. 

3) 9

While there are only three offsuit nines, Dr. Cardner has a ton of implied odds when they hit as they are a safe card for JJ and TT, and give 99 a set.

4) A or K

These are great bluffing cards for the hero, especially the A, as it puts even more pressure on the middle pairs, the primary bluff-target of Hero when she opts to call the flop and bet the turn.

5) Board pairs, 

If hero had a made hand, they're very unlikely to fold to raise or a bet when checked to when the board pairs.

6) 2-4, 6-7

Likewise, if hero had a made hand, they're very unlikely to fold to raise or a bet when checked to when these low cards roll off.


Against this villain, when the board pairs or low cards come out on the turn, the Hero still has a little less than 40% equity against the villain's flop checkraising range. So even if the villain continues to bet again and bets the size of the pot of around 700, the hero has direct odds to call, not even factoring in some level of implied odds. When or A or a K hits the hero has a great spot to bluff. A J or a T will make her hand best a decent amount of the time. And a club or 9 will almost always give hero the nuts and she can then value bet in position.

In retrospect I think the decision between shoving and calling is a lot closer than we might. She doesn't have any fold equity against top pair+ played this way on the flop. Against her main bluff target, middling pairs, she has a lot of runouts where she can extract a ton of value, and some where a bluff will have a great success of working than on the flop. Calling and shoving are both clearly +EV with Dr. Cardner's hand against the villain's range. Given this was one of the weaker players in the game, I would say calling in position is marginally better than shoving because of the hero's ability to outplay this villain on the different board textures.